Self-driving Ubers arrive in San Francisco

"The law can be read that way, but doing so might cause tension between Uber and state regulators, according to Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and scholar with Stanford Law School who specializes in autonomous driving. He acknowledged that risk is unlikely to deter the company that built its entire ride-hailing business model by operating in a similar legal gray area.

That’s the main benefit of Uber’s self-driving car programs — the publicity, Smith said. Uber is a long way from deploying cars that can operate entirely autonomously, he said, but putting semi-autonomous cars on the street is an “opportunity to expose the broader public to these technologies so that they’re not so strange and mystical.”"